… Three regions to be targeted
The Ministry of Education (MoE) in collaboration with the Organization of American States (OAS) and ProFuturo today launched the ProFuturo Project in Guyana. The aim of this initiative, the first of its kind in the Caribbean, is to improve learning outcomes with the use of accessible Information Communication Technology (ICT) and digital technologies to complement the revamp and improvement of the education sector.
The project, described by Minister of Education Dr Nicolette Henry as novel, noble and forward-looking will be executed in three phases and will target primary schools in Regions one, six and 10. It is expected that 449 teachers, 28 schools and more than 5000 children will benefit.
The launch at the National Centre for Education Resource Development (NCERD), was followed by the commencement of training for seven (7) master trainers who will then be assigned to schools in their respective regions to train teachers of the institutions that will be a part of the project.
In her remarks at the launch of the project, Minister Henry asserted that education is embarking on major changes to students' learning and knowledge acquisition. Further, it is the view of Dr Henry that technology has influenced and changed the way students solve problems, research information and learn, so it is incumbent that the MoE adapts to these changes.
Minister Henry opined that for 21st-century existence youths need more than traditional skills, such as literacy and numeracy and must be complemented with skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, and creativity. “Children cognitive, social and emotional abilities must be brought to bearing in developing their breadth of skills”.
Moreover, the Minister of Education believes that the 21st-century Guyanese citizen, will in a large part, be crafted and honed in our nursery, primary, and secondary schools. This is owing to the fact that in these formidable and most impressionable years’ children discover and explore their competencies, skills, talents, and desires.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Dr Marcel Hutson underscored the importance of teachers to the process. The CEO said that in order for the education system to work optimally, such collaboration like the one with ProFuturo will assist in transforming the way education is delivered in Guyana. According to CEO Hutson, each child is gifted and educators must extract this gift from them. It is against this background that Rev Hutson lauded the tripartite collaboration between the OAS, ProFuturo and the MoE. Additionally, Dr Hutson said that the education system has to move away from the chalk and talk approach and embrace innovative ways to teach children so that learning is done in a fun environment utilizing modern approaches.
Director of Profuturo, Ms Maria Lobo said that the project provides a unique opportunity to build a future where equitable quality education is a reality for all. Further, Ms Lobo said that the project aims to bridge the education gap and digital divide with a view of transforming, through digital technologies and ICT’s, the teaching and learning experiences of its beneficiaries.
When the project is implemented in schools, each school will be provided with a suitcase comprising 48 tablets, a laptop and a wireless router. This approach will ensure that children have real-time access to information that will be pertinent to their education.